Christmas is the citrus season: while the Spanish have been marketing their produce for over two months, Italian citrus fruits traditionally take a little longer. The fine leafy clementines, blood oranges and blond oranges are not only readily available, but are also popular with consumers because of their unique quality. Just in time for Christmas, the full range is now available in the shops, says specialist citrus retailer Francesco di Bari, branch manager at Sapros LLC in Karlsruhe.
Francesco Di Bari (here during the 2018 wholesale market visit) is the branch manager of Sapros LLC in Karlsruhe. He has been working with a lot passion at the Karlsruhe wholesale market for many years.
Production volume below the previous year's level
In recent weeks there has been continuous rain in the southern growing areas of Italy, Sicily and Calabria. As expected, the total production volume for all citrus fruits will therefore be slightly below the previous year's level, Di Bari forecasts. "Due to weather conditions, we must expect a slight loss of quality for the leaf clementines and, as expected, the season will end directly after Christmas. We are still quite satisfied with the season so far."
Sapros LLC sells its citrus fruits mainly in wooden crates or cartons.
Tarocco vs. Moro
Despite the extreme weather conditions in southern Italy, the complete citrus range is now available. On Friday, just in time for Christmas, the first thoroughbred oranges of the Moro variety will arrive in Karlsruhe. The next day, the Karlsruhe branch will have the last factory outlet action of the year, for private customers. "We also already have the half-blood oranges Tarocco in our program. This is a completely different fruit in terms of taste from the blood orange: the Tarocco has a fine, very sweet taste, while the Moro, on the other hand, has a slight acidity."
In terms of appearance, however, the two orange varieties are hardly distinguishable, Di Bari adds: "A mature Tarocco with optimum colouring has a similar colour to the Moro whole blood orange. The Tarocco is usually marketed until February-March, when the Moro inevitably disappears from the market shortly after the turn of the year and is replaced by the Sanguinelli. In terms of price, the two oranges are about the same."
Italian leaf clementines are expected to run out by the end of the year.
Citrus cultivation beyond the island of Sicily
Producers on the island of Sicily are known for their extensive citrus cultivation: On the east coast around Catania, mainly blood oranges are grown, while blond oranges thrive best on the other side of the island in Ribera. "The Washington Navel now dominates the blond oranges," Di Bari explains.
In conjunction with the Italian blonde oranges, there are navelinas from Spanish cultivation. As a rule, Spanish goods are 0.15-0.30 euros/kg more expensive.
All in all, the long-established specialist retailer sees an upward trend in Italian citrus fruits. "This market segment records a small increase in sales every year, at least for us," says Di Bari. According to the retailer, this is due to the unique quality and the relatively short season. The Italian product is also less common in the well-known supermarket chains, where Spanish citrus fruits are mainly sold.
For more information:
Francesco Di Bari
Tel: +49 721 627650 (Großmarkt)